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6 Steps To Designing A Book Cover That Stands Out

6 steps to Designing a Book Cover That Stands Out

They say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Still, in the fiercely competitive world of literature, an alluring book cover can be the make-or-break factor that entices potential readers to delve into its pages. As authors and publishers alike strive to make their literary works stand out amidst the vast ocean of titles, the art of designing a book cover has become an essential skill worthy of admiration and awe.

In this age of digital dominance and ever-evolving marketing strategies, a captivating book cover is not just a piece of art; it’s a powerful marketing tool that must not be underestimated. Beyond showcasing a stunning visual, a well-crafted book cover design communicates a story, sets the tone, and conveys the essence of the written masterpiece within. To achieve this delicate balance of creativity and purpose, authors and designers must journey to understand the intricacies of designing a book cover that genuinely stands out. The following blog layout six essential steps that could make designing a book cover easier.

Step 1 – Get On The Creative Hat

You may or may not have read any books in these years, but you might feel attracted to a book cover design or its title. Gather it and analyze it! You must note the odds and the elements that seem fascinating to your eyes and persuade you to fall for it. Frequently visit the book outlets and scrutinize different book cover designs. It is also suggested that a mood board be prepared to organize the ideas.

Step 2 – Consider your Book Genre

In the fascinating world of book cover design, it’s not enough to create an aesthetically pleasing masterpiece; you must also decipher the code that gets right to your readers’ emotional cores. Here is where genre indicators come in, providing those subtle yet significant visual clues that might help your book cover connect with the proper readers.

Imagine the terrifying attraction of a dark home with a lighted window drenched in enticing blues and yellows, luring mystery fans into an exciting crime thriller. Alternatively, an illustrated cover may provide a homely touch, luring readers of romantic novels and cozy mysteries into a warm and inviting setting. Finally, the paranormal fantasy genre has believable people in exotic settings and encourages readers to go on out-of-the-ordinary journeys.

Genre indications are like mapposts for cover art, but you must find a middle ground between being derivative and being on trend. In the same way that standing out too much might scare off readers, blending in too much could cause your work to be overlooked. The trick is to fill your cover with familiar and innovative elements, producing a magnetic attraction that distinguishes your book from the others.

However, don’t worry! It is recommended to seek the advice of a professional designer if you are lost in the maze of current book cover styles. If you hire them, they will use their experience to give form to your thoughts and realize your vision for the cover, making it more likely that your work will be seen in a sea of competitors.

Step 3 – Seek a Professional Cover Designer

DIY book covers are more straightforward than ever in this era of computers and online resources. The accessibility of cover design tools like Canva and Adobe Express encourages do-it-yourself efforts. Designing a book cover design that competes in the market requires a professional designer’s touch, just as 3D-printing a pacemaker without medical competence is imprudent.

Here is the book “Island of Gold” with its gorgeous jacket created by “Patrick Knowles.” It is a masterwork that captures the story’s spirit while being recognizable in its genre. If you want your book to have lasting influence, you’ll need to reach this level of proficiency.

Are there statistically significant increases in clicks and sales from professionally designed book covers? When we tested this, we found that it increased the marketability of books by an average of 35%. While sites like Fiverr and Upwork may provide freelance designers and illustrators access, Reedsy is your best bet for finding experts who have worked in the publishing industry for a decade or more. If you want to employ a designer, looking at their previous work is essential. Choose experts whose work you’d be happy to have on your cover, with an eye towards those already known about your genre. After you’ve narrowed down your list of possible applicants, it’s time to contact them. Work with them to define the project’s scope, schedule, and outcomes.


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Step 4 – Define Your Vision to the Designer

Be ready with the checklist

Identify your Target market: Determine your book’s genre and research your intended readers’ demographics before proceeding. This data will serve as the basis for a cover that connects with your readers, whether you’re trying to attract adult ladies (aged 25–45) or young adults (aged 13–18).

Reveal Your Book’s Heart and Soul: Give the designer a persuasive summary of your book. Provide a sneak peek into the meat of your work by summarising its key points and themes. The designer won’t have to read the whole book if they have this summary to get the necessary information.

Illuminate your Main Characters: Give the designer some history on the major characters and emphasize their most important exterior and interior characteristics. The designer may develop something representing your characters thanks to your detailed descriptions.

Embrace the Elements: Indicate the book’s size, title, tagline, reviews, and any other pertinent information you feel should appear on the cover. Instruct the designer how you’d want the cover to look so they may create something that fits your needs.

Time-Saving Strategies: To expedite your experience on Reedsy’s marketplace, you may send your brief to up to five designers simultaneously. You may get many prices depending on characteristics like expertise, design complexity, and rounds of revisions, and you save time in the process.
Once you send in your design brief, you’ll get estimates that are made just for your project. The final price will depend on factors like the designer’s level of experience and the complexity of the design. Still, you’ll have a book cover that does justice to your literary masterpiece.

Step 5 – Experiment and Experiment

As your book cover takes shape, the magic begins as the designer delves into the world of typefaces and color schemes. From typography to layout, the possibilities are endless, and this stage is all about experimenting with different concepts to find the perfect fit. The designer will present you with several cover versions, allowing you to fine-tune and personalize the design to your liking.

Let’s explore an example to see how this creative process unfolds. Below, you’ll find two captivating iterations of the chosen concept. One features a slight variation in the color palette while maintaining the essence of the plant leaves and scarf detail. The other adopts a minimalist design, with a compass between two Devil’s Club branches, showcasing vintage tones.

Ultimately, the author chose a fusion of her favorite elements: a vintage color scheme, an iconic piece of her uniform, and the earthy charm of the Devil’s Club leaves. The final design was completed with a slightly rounded font type and a well-matched color combination.

Settling on the ultimate design may take some revisions, but the result is a breathtaking cover that brings your book to life in ways you never imagined.

Now, let’s talk about licensing images. Most book cover designs incorporate licensed images from reputable sources like Getty ImagesiStock, and Shutterstock. Designers manipulate these images, adding or removing elements to craft unique works of art. If your cover includes licensed images, this is the stage where you’ll need to purchase the rights to use them. Designers usually work with watermarked and low-resolution images during the initial concept phase until you approve the final version.

💡 Pro tip: Negotiate and confirm the license terms and limits for the images. If possible, consider purchasing the license to retain full rights for using the images in your published work.

As you approach the finish line, your book cover is now a captivating masterpiece ready to conquer the publishing world. With the final touches applied and the print-ready cover files prepared, your literary creation is set to impact readers far and wide. Embrace the journey of book cover design, for it can unveil your story’s soul with every stroke of artistry.

Step 6 – Some final touches to the printing success

Your book cover is more than just a front facade; it’s a masterpiece that demands attention from every angle. As you near the final stages of the design process, true artistry comes to light as the designer crafts the back cover, spine, and possibly flaps to fit your intended print formats perfectly.

Refining the Details

Before your cover is ready to dazzle the world, there are a few crucial decisions. You might want to include a compelling one-liner review from another author or an authoritative profile on the front or back cover. Don’t forget to leave space for essential elements like a captivating blurb, author bio, logo, and room for the ISBN barcode.

Your designer is an invaluable resource at this stage, guiding you with expert advice on back cover design and ensuring every aspect of your cover aligns with your vision. With all corners squared away, it’s time to finalize the files for upload and print.

Getting the Perfect Dimensions

Ensuring your cover fits flawlessly in its intended format is vital, whether it’s an offset print, print-on-demand, or digital-only release.


For ebooks, the standard front cover size on KDP is 1600 x 2560px, with other retailers having their specifications. Keep your ebook covers in PNG or JPEG format, ensuring minimal compression to maintain high-quality visuals.

Print Books:

Publishing a physical edition requires attention to the specifications of the back cover, spine, and flap (for hardcovers). The spine can be particularly tricky, depending on format, binding type, paper stock, and page count.
Fortunately, major digital and print providers offer tools to calculate book cover dimensions, generate templates for designers or provide specifications for pixel-perfect results.

Time to Export

With your cover dimensions checked and verified, your designer will provide you with print-ready PDF files for upload to your chosen print or distribution service.

Concluding Thoughts:

A fascinating book cover is essential in today’s highly competitive publishing industry since it is the first thing readers see and will ultimately be remembered. It’s not simply a pretty face; it’s a promotional tool that effectively communicates the core ideas of your literary masterwork. The successful book covers result from a combination of the designer’s imagination, knowledge of the book’s genre, and professional design skills. Through trial and error, you may create a cover that makes readers feel something, conveys a tale, and encourages them to dive into an extraordinary experience. Accept the power of book cover design, and your work will stand out in the huge literary world.

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